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At 338 million, the number of Internet users in China ranks second only to the United States. Moreover, Chinese speakers constitute 29.7 percent of the total of 1.8 billion Internet users worldwide, ranking second to English. However, little is known about how Chinese speakers use language online, in contrast to a large amount of research done on languages that utilize Roman- based script. This article attempts to describe the linguistic and paralinguistic features of informal computer-mediated communication in Chinese. The research is based on a review of existing research and analysis of data massages posted on websites. Throughout the course of the study I aimed to answer the research questions stated below:
▪ What are the linguistic features of the Chinese Internet language (CIL)?
▪ Why is the language on the web adopting such a linguistic form?
▪ Why do Internet users create and use unique language form called the Chinese Internet language?
In order to receive answers to these questions I have based my analysis upon four areas: definition and description of linguistic features of the Chinese Internet language, characteristics of online asynchronous communication, and its functions.
Definition of the Chinese Internet language and factors contributing to the emergence of the Internet language
The rapid development of the Internet in China has had a huge impact on the Chinese language. Computer-mediated communication gave rise to a new variety of Chinese that is being called the Chinese Internet language.
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